Blog

If A Tree Falls…

photo credit: El silencio, su mejor refugio via photopin (license)
photo credit: El silencio, su mejor refugio via photopin (license)

After placing my author social media accounts on hiatus, I realized that Twitter in particular had become an integral part of my life. So I opened up a new account, placed it on private, and sent tweets essentially to myself. At first I was uneasy: isn’t the point of social media to be social? To find your tribe online through mutual interests (usually discovered via hashtags)? And as an author, you should be out there, mingling with your peers and potential readers!

My unease quickly disappeared when I logged back into my normal Twitter account. The million and a half conversations, the links, the hashtags, the memes, the gifs, all zooming across my screen, felt like noise. The wrenching, shrieking violins from the shower scene in Psycho started playing in my head. Catching tail ends of twitter convos suddenly exacerbated FOMO syndrome, and I had to stop myself before I started down the path of clicking profiles and hashtags in order to keep up with what everyone was discussing today.

I’ve grown very fond of performance studies over the past year. Identity formations and role playing based on a standard repertoire for how X people are supposed to behave fascinates me, likely because I’ve always felt out of sync with how I am supposed to perform based on the intersections of my physical appearance, my ethnicity, my gender, my socioeconomic background, my religion, my education/profession, and my age. Having been a “member” of Romancelandia for a little over ten years, I am well versed in the performance of being A Romance Author (and A Romance Reader) when Online. Despite the shift towards digital spaces as a primary place for connection, the performance remains the same: you exchange enough social currency to build a new link in your network, thereby increasing your chances for success (e.g. a community of friends to share your book covers, new releases, etc).

But what happens when you don’t perform?

What if I never tweeted, Facebooked, or Instagramed ever again?

Is social currency like actual currency: it accumulates and collects interest when you don’t touch it? Or is it like the stock market: it rises and falls based upon exterior forces and demands (aka other people)?

If an author removes themselves from the flow of conversation, do they continue to exist to the community?

Shutting Doors, Closing Up Shop (Sort Of)

One of my vices is ambition. I see things I want to accomplish and I go after them–even if I want to accomplish five or six things at once. Then I’m left juggling my overbooked and overlapped life, until something has to give–which is usually my mental well being!

I managed to keep the balls of school, life, writing, leisure and procrastination in the air pretty well over the past two years, but when my summer internship took me out of my usual physical location, while also forcing me out of my usual virtual locations for lack of time, I was surprised by how relieving it was to unplug from my habits. And a whole ‘nother side of me blossomed with the opportunity to “talk shop” with my academic/public historian hat on. I also shed a lot of burdens over my writing I didn’t realize I’d been carrying.

But anyways, I am placing my author social media stuff on hiatus. If you really care that much, email me and I’ll send a link to my real life/professional social media accounts.

Until then, ciao.

Hopefully next time I surface, it’s to wave my next book deal and/or my doctorate degree all over the place, LOL.

On After You’ve Gone

After You've Gone: A Short Story from Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War
My story, in ebook form

This post is a week late, seeing as how my short story was released in ebook format last Tuesday. Nevertheless, I am excited and still thrilled by being able to see this story in particular sitting on bookshelves and available for individual purchase.

When Heather Webb tapped me for this anthology, my brain immediately raced towards possible plots. I wrote and tossed out a number of ideas–especially since I was learning, painfully, how to write short–until I realized what I wanted to do: honor my unknown ancestors who served in WWI.

It’s a long story, but I know little of my family history beyond my paternal grandmother and maternal grandmother. My mom’s dad died before I could meet him with any kind of awareness (I was around him as a baby), and I met my dad’s (estranged) father as he was dying of kidney disease. So history and historical fiction for me is an attempt to find a background of some sort, to imagine what these nameless, faceless relatives might have experienced over the course of the twentieth century.

As a result, when I sat down to write my contribution to Fall of Poppies, I didn’t want to write about upper crust Brits, but about people who might have been in my family or connected to them.

It was still difficult to write, haha. But I was never more satisfied with a piece of writing than when I sent off After You’ve Gone to my editor at HarperCollins.

I hope all who’ve purchased it or the full length anthology will read it with enjoyment. Stay tuned for an annotated post where I explain the historical details in the story.

FALL OF POPPIES: HarperCollins | Indiebound | Amazon | Powell’s | B & N

AFTER YOU’VE GONE: Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iBooks